My interest in learning and teaching Spanish began in high school thanks to a generous and engaging teacher who was also my teacher in college. My first teaching experience was a year spent in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I was pregnant with my younger daughter who was born there. She’s now a third-grade teacher in Mississippi and has had bilingual students in her classroom. My daughters are now grown, so I’ve had a chance to be a student again --- at least in January. That’s the month I travel to a Spanish speaking country to spend two weeks in a language immersion program. The things I learn each year not only help me learn the language, but also introduce me to new and fun ways to teach Spanish. That’s one of the reasons I joined Teachers Pay Teachers to be able to share techniques and ideas with other language teachers. I’m excited to share exercises and lesson components that can be used with students in conversational Spanish in middle school through high school.
I try to create an open and engaging climate in my classes so that my students feel safe to ask questions and to be beginners in the learning process. I want them to know that we're striving for excellence, not perfection so that they aren't afraid to really apply what we're learning. To do that, they need to be okay with learning and practicing many times before mastery. I continue trying to grow my teaching skills to continue improving my courses. I continually strive to find more ways to have the courses learner-focused instead of instructor-focused.
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I grew up in Western North Carolina in a small town called Cullowhee. The grade school I attended was called Camp Lab because of its connection to the university there (WCU). My teachers in this small college town were among the best. Their example made such an impact on me as a student. Just before my junior year my family moved to Hattiesburg, Miss. where I graduated from high school and then went on to study for a B.A. and then a master's degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.
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